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Mother describes escape from Medford apartment fire

Medford firefighters respond Saturday to an apartment fire in the 700 block of Royal Avenue. Because the fire torched a front entrance and stairway, one apartment occupant, Angelique Padgett, and her family had to evacuate from her balcony. [Medford Fire Department photo]
Medford firefighters respond Saturday to an apartment fire in the 700 block of Royal Avenue. Because the fire torched a front entrance and stairway, one apartment occupant, Angelique Padgett, and her family had to evacuate from her balcony. [Medford Fire Department photo]

Good Samaritans helped a Medford family escape a Saturday fire in their apartment.

The family described being rescued off a balcony after flames tore through The Village apartment building’s front entrances in the 700 block of Royal Avenue. One person received hospital treatment for burns.

Angelique Padgett said neighbors she’d never met before helped catch her and her teen and young adult children in a Saturday evening fire that tore through the entrances of at least two apartment units.

According to Padgett and a news release issued by Medford Fire Department, the blaze broke out before sundown and spread quickly. A call to Medford fire investigators was not immediately returned Monday.

A lazy Saturday evening in the living room watching TV with her daughters turned frantic in an instant, said Padgett, who huddled on the balcony with all four of her kids, ages 14 to 28, trying to decide whether to jump.

A group of five men in her complex who she'd never met before urged her to jump from the balcony and offered to catch her and her daughters, said Padgett.

“I was freaked out,” Padgett said, initially telling herself, “Nuh-uh, I’m waiting for the fire department.“

She eventually took the leap, Padgett said Monday morning in a phone interview from the White City hotel where she’s staying.

“It all spread so fast,” Padgett said.

For Padgett, everything started before sundown Saturday when she heard a downstairs neighbor screaming.

“It was a different yell than we normally hear,” Padgett said.

She opened her front door and saw fire on the stairway. Padgett, her 28- and 18-year-old daughters and visiting 23-year-old son banged on the bathroom door, and the family fled through the back.

Her 16-year-old daughter heard about the fire while out with friends as news spread on the Jackson County Scanner Group Facebook group.

The flames in the front entryway ultimately tore through Padgett’s roof and both bedrooms, but much of their electronics inside their living room — including a TV, Xbox and Oculus Quest virtual reality headset — appear to have been spared by the fire and firefight.

Padgett was similarly relieved that all three of the family’s cats made it out safely.

On Sunday, Padgett asked locals to be on the lookout for their dark-colored cat, “Skeletons,” but on Monday morning Padgett got the good news: Skeletons was found safe, albeit scared, hiding in a drawer in the living room.

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow himon Twitter @MTwebeditor.